Have you ever experienced days where you have literally been so beaten down that you feel like you have a cloud of bad luck just hovering over your life? If you have felt this way, I have a story that may encourage you. This story hits me really close to home because it’s about my fiancé. When Patrick was just about to graduate high school, his mother passed away from an unexpected brain aneurysm. Three weeks later, he had to leave town to work at a summer camp, where God seemed more far than near. The day after he finished, he started college. We all know that freshman year of college can be a really difficult transition time. The death of his mom, as well as the struggles of being in a military school, beat him down every day.
During his first semester, Patrick developed a problem in his lower back that required surgery to fix. He was out of the game for a while so that he could heal properly. From what I can gather about being at a military college, any time off is bad, because you have to work twice as hard just to get back to where you started. Fast forward a couple years, and now his senior year is almost over. There has been a fair share of struggles for him no doubt, but it’s his final year, and he’s going to be an officer in the US Army. He got the job and duty station he wanted, which was a huge blessing! Patrick didn’t expect to get either of them. Both his graduation and commissioning were all lined up for May, and we were actively planning our wedding together. Life truly was great. Then, out of nowhere, the problem from freshman year springs up on him again. He has to have surgery again, which stops him from working out for a couple months, and despite the doctor’s assurance, he wasn’t healed in time to take his last physical fitness test that was required for him to commission. On top of that, he fails his hardest class with a D, which meant that it needed to be taken again. Now his commission and graduation have been pushed out of sight.
Patrick retakes the class over this summer as he is healing and working hard to get back into shape so he can pass his physical fitness test. He passes the class (barely) and graduation is set for the day before our wedding. Everything is going well until he gets a call explaining that the Army needs to review all paperwork from his second surgery. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, they were not able to send it up in time, and Patrick is told that he can’t commission at the end of the summer. This means that he has to wait even longer until he gets re-approved. All I could think when he told me the news was, “God, really? Why? Has he not been through enough?”
I walked into his house right after we were told the news, and he calmly tells me: “I’m not gonna wig out, ‘cause God is in control.”
Those were words I needed to hear aloud.
Throughout these times, it has been a constant struggle of trusting the Lord and His sovereignty over our lives. As I study the name of El Elyon (The God Most High), I am reminded that Patrick’s life and mine are not a series of unfortunate events or bad luck. No, God is the God Most High! He knows exactly what He is doing. I could write an entirely separate post on the goodness of God, and about the silver lining to every “bad thing” that has happened in the past four years, but it would take pages and pages.
There are so many places in scripture where God is called El Elyon, but here is my favorite passage that outlines the name beautifully:
“Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird or prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it; surely I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)
God does not leave my future, Patrick’s future, or your future in the hands of anyone but Himself, the God Most High.
Another story that I love is from the book of John. Right before Jesus is about to be crucified, and he is standing before Pilate - who has the earthly power to declare Him innocent or guilt - Jesus won’t say so much as a word to him or the crowd. “Pilate, therefore, said to Him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do you not know that I have the authority to release You, and I have the authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me unless it had been given you from above; for this reason, he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.” (John 19: 10-11) El Elyon: God absolutely is the Most High, even over things as big as governments and world leaders.
The hope that goes hand in hand with this name of God gives me a peace I cannot fathom. God is not just sovereign over Patrick’s story and struggles but over things as big as the leaders and rulers in the world. The world is literally God’s, and that gives me the peace I need to trust and obey Him. I am so thankful I serve no one less than the God Most High.
P.S. -- Today, I am even more thankful for God and his perfect timing. I was late in editing my blog, and the Lord sovereignly allowed this to happen. This morning, I woke up to a string of bad news; however, editing this blog today is the grace of God to remind me of what I wrote about Him not even 2 days ago. I will conclude this by emphasizing the importance of reminding yourself daily of the truths about God’s character and His promises. Today would have been the straw that broke my back if it were not for His indescribable faithfulness and sustainment through His character and His promises.